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Meet the Managing Team of the Duke Angel Network

Published: 6 months ago | 0 comments

John Glushik, Managing Director of DAN

John Glushik has worked in the venture capital space since 1999, and he became the managing director of the Duke Angel Network in 2015. John graduated from the Pratt School of Engineering in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and material science. He also holds a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University.

How did you first get involved in the venture business?

After I graduated from Duke, I spent time working as an engineer in the aerospace industry. I was exposed to a number of different technologies. In the late 90s, the venture industry was growing dramatically and provided an opportunity for technologists like myself to have a broader exposure to some of the really amazing early-stage companies that were growing around the country.

After going to business school at Northwestern and working in technology consulting for a while in California, I joined a venture firm here in Durham, an area I grew to appreciate while I was at school here. I started as an associate at Intersouth Partners and learned from very experienced senior partners that have been in the industry for many years. I worked my way up to become a partner at Intersouth and have had the opportunity to work with many different companies as an investor and a board member, learning both how to evaluate investment opportunities and how to be a good partner for early-stage companies.

How did you return to Duke to begin working here?

While I was at Intersouth, I started talking to Eric Toone, who at the time was the director of Duke I&E, about the possibility of a University-affiliated angel network for Duke. We had seen some models around the country, and we thought we could learn from them and put a network in place that was right for Duke. After extensive research, benchmarking and discussion, we came up with an organizational structure that we thought would work, and we were able to get buy-in from all the leaders at Duke. They were very supportive of the concept, and we launched the Duke Angel Network in 2015, and I was asked to come on as the managing director. I made the decision to scale back my responsibilities at Intersouth and take on this role.

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel. I have two young kids – my son is 9 and my daughter is 7 – and we’ve already been to Spain, which is where I was born, three times with them. I like to play all kinds of sports and watch sports, and that’s something I share with my son now. Right now we play a lot of tennis – he enjoys it, and he’s really getting great.

What do you enjoy most about working with the Duke Angel Network?

I’ve always loved working with entrepreneurs, and the Duke Angel Network gives me the opportunity to continue doing that with the special benefit of the entrepreneurs also being affiliated with Duke. I also love the fact that I get to know some of our members very well through the experience as we help them look into investment opportunities. I’m building some special relationships with many of these fellow alums.

Ryan Frew, Associate Director of DAN

Ryan Frew is the Associate Director of the Duke Angel Network. He helped to launch and manage the network while an MBA candidate at the Fuqua School of Business and joined the network full-time upon graduating in 2016. Ryan also holds a B.S. from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

How did you first become interested in the world of angel investing?

I’ve always had an interest in technology and an entrepreneurial itch. I’ve never really had a desire to start my own venture, but I’ve enjoyed working with creative, driven people building their businesses. Prior to business school, I did mergers and acquisitions investment banking at two new boutique firms that were entrepreneurial themselves, and our clients were typically founder-owned businesses. I enjoyed working with entrepreneurs to help them realize their success after years of hard work, but also developed a desire to work with companies earlier in their lifecycle, evaluate them more objectively from an investment perspective, and help them succeed over the long-term.

I thought about some other avenues when I first started business school but ultimately became most interested in early-stage venture investing. I met John shortly into the second semester of my first year at Fuqua and was really excited about what he was starting with the Duke Angel Network.

How has working with the Duke Angel Network been beneficial for your career?

The Duke Angel Network has been my first role in early-stage private equity investing, so it’s already been transformational in terms of taking my career in a slightly different direction. I have a finance background, but have learned a lot about how venture capital investments are structured, how to evaluate teams and markets and how to do good diligence. I’ve also developed relationships with a lot of amazing people, both at companies we’re evaluating and our own members.

What is your favorite part of working with the network?

It’s really exciting to meet entrepreneurs who are innovating and building great companies. We invest across a range of industries, so I’m constantly learning about new markets and technologies.

It’s also lot of fun to watch our portfolio companies grow and succeed. That’s probably my favorite part.

What do you like to do for fun?

I really like to travel. I went on a big trip to Budapest and Croatia with a group of classmates when I graduated from Fuqua. I also try to go skiing once a year and have done a few hiking trips to national parks recently. I generally like being outside.

I’m also a D.C. sports fan – as heartbreaking as that is sometimes – so I always pull for the Redskins, Nationals and Capitals.

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